Beauty is power and makeup is an asset that enhances it! Vardan Nayak, a celebrity make-up artist who has beautified divas from Bollywood like Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt, and many more. He has been one of the leading makeup artists in the industry.
His journey travels back to his childhood when he started assisting his father, Dilip Nayak. His father was a well-known makeup artist of his time and was also an inspiration to Vardan. He fondly remembers how his father used to travel to many places and meet various celebrities. Vardan initially tried using various makeup equipment as his father.
He used to get fascinated by how makeup can help in embracing beauty just by working with different colors and so much more! He also stated that since childhood he had been learning about various types of makeup equipment for a very long time.
This habit intrigued him to enter in the field of makeup. At the age of fifteen, he initiated helping his father in cleaning bags and other makeup equipment that he used for the makeup of celebrities. He further described that his father worked with many celebrities of his time, and contributed to the movies like Kaala Pathar, Satte Pe Satta, and many more!
During his vacation time, Vardaan used to accompany his father to several shoot locations to assist him in his work. That was the time when he introspected about his interest in makeup. After that, he decided to get hands-on experience in this profession along with the studies. He worked with his father for over two and a half years but as a child of a well-known makeup artist, things were taken care of by others around him. Thus, he decided to get out of his comfort zone and work on the field individually so that he could make his own space in the makeup industry by gaining real experience. Soon after, he started hunting for projects and fortunately bagged an opportunity to work with a brilliant make-up artist, Mickey Contractor.
Mickey Contractor, M∙A∙C Director of Makeup Artistry for India, is more than an icon to the millions entranced by the glamour and magic of Bollywood. He’s mentored in-the-know artists around the world and painted the famous faces of Indian cinema for over three decades.
Finally, after the hustle, Vardan got a call from Mickey to work with him. He described this with a lot of excitement as Mickey Contractor was a big name in the field of makeup. His first assignment in this journey was in Egypt followed by traveling to America, New York, etc. He got a lot of chances to travel and get international experience by moving to different places. Under Mickey’s assistance, he also got the opportunity to work in the Paris Fashion Week.
According to him, working in any field especially cinema requires basic knowledge along with on-field experience. He also shared how things have evolved in recent years regarding pursuing a degree in make-up. Unlike now, earlier people used to get a real-life experience or assist some makeup artists to become one and there were no such makeup degrees. He mentioned that his father also assisted few makeup artists in his times to become a professional in this streamline and that manifests the dynamics of change in recent times. Talking about the importance of experience, he shared some instances where he and Mickey Contractor used to sit in a restaurant, both with a book in hand. Whenever a female entered the restaurant, both of them used to write down her basic makeup like foundation, undertones, etc. separately and to evaluate Vardan had to match what Mickey wrote and that’s an amazing technique to know the technicalities and make your basics strong!
The fact that makes him moving in his journey is ‘less is more’. According to him, every makeup artist has a forte and described that his forte is to do a clean minimalist makeup where even if less makeup is applied, it looks appropriate and embraces the beauty. Another important aspect that he mentions is to ‘never stop learning’. Even today, when he has emerged as a successful makeup artist, he follows various other makeup artists, including the new uprising ones. He strongly believes in learning from anyone and everyone and that’s a great trait an individual can have in his profession.
He shared his experiences through his journey and said that it is not easy as it is extremely vital to stay focused, follow new trends, and also cope with the time limitations. He continued by saying that the biggest motivation for him is when people appreciate his work and that makes him do better every day. After gaining experience by assisting for 14 years to establishing himself for the last 7 years, he has worked in about 32 movies and with the greatest actors and artists in the industry.
Coming to the challenges, he said, that in makeup, it is necessary to learn from the roots! It is difficult to get to know the skin types and the types of undertones. These two terms are an integral part of makeup. Holding on to basics is more challenging. He stated, “Makeup is not to change your skin color but to even your skin and enhance your beauty.” The job of the makeup artist is to make people look real with makeup to justify his/her work.
The biggest milestone which he achieved in the recent times is working as a makeup artist in Isha Ambani’s (daughter of Mukesh Ambani and Neeta Ambani) wedding in which he provided her with a timeless and classic natural look. Despite getting awarded for his work many times, he says that his achievements are the experiences he had in his journey which also describes his passion and love towards his work.
His advice for all the aspirants is to stay focused on their work. He added that learning new things is necessary but focusing on your forte and considering your niche is paramount because that could help in enhancing the comprehensive skills of an individual. A basic yet important success mantra for him is to stay focused always and never stop learning. Upgrading the work and skills to perform better and offer better helps a lot in achieving success.
Thank you, Vardan for sharing this amazing journey of yours. Your life learning lessons and bits of advice for the budding makeup artists has surely proved to be a dose of motivation to all.